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“March 31-April 7 2012 Playa Blanca” 3 of 5 bubbles
Review of Hotel Playa Blanca Beach Resort

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Hotel Playa Blanca Beach Resort
Ranked #1 of 3 Hotels in Farallon
Chatham Ontario
Level Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
“March 31-April 7 2012 Playa Blanca”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 9 April 2012

Well Sunwing was wonderful as usual .... The flight wasn't full so we each had 3 seats to ourselves .... the return flight was much the same .... they said that the incoming flight on the 7th had less than 100 passengers! It is nice because it's a 5 hour flight and being crammed in to those tiny seats would have been hard to take otherwise.

The trip to the hotel was over 2 hours long and we knew that going in ... they stopped part way to use the washroom and when we got to the hotel they had our room keys waiting... fastest check-in ever! They took us right to the buffet for something to eat as it was quite late.
The room had 2 queen sized beds and was quite clean and very large ... the bathroom was nice but small ... our room looked onto the 1st pool (we were in the building right off the lobby building). Each building had about 10 rooms per floor and 4 floors... we found it quiet, even when the holiday weekend guests came in. We were given a bottle of wine, large bottle of water and our beach towels were already in the room for us... we later found out that we were considered ViP's and not everyone got that treatment!

The Sunwing rep was very good and available when she said she would be (not like those in Cuba who you could seldom find). We didn't have too many issues but one couple had a few problems and when the front desk wasn't accommodating they told the rep and she had it fixed right away... they were even sent a fruit basket and bottle of wine to make up for the problems.

There are about 7 bars and all well stocked. The buffet was excellent ... omelette station for breakfast, pasta station at lunch and dinner, carved meats at dinner, lots of selection and variety. There were 2 al carte's which we tried but weren't too impressed although others liked it.

They have 2 bird cages on the property, one with a toucan and one with 4 large mackaws .. they were very friendly.. there were also 2 smaller green parrots that sat around the buffet.... in the mornings they were allowed in an area near the entrance to the buffet and squaked and carried on and were generally very amusing... they also allowed people to handle them so they were pretty popular... the rest of the day they played in the palm trees near the buffet entrance.

The beach had quite a tide and a lot of waves so unless you were a strong swimmer you didn't go in the water much. When the tide was out there were lots of jellyfish to look at. We were warned about them and to also watch for stingrays. They told us none were fatal and what to do if we got stung. The beach was private as well so not one single person approached us for anything... something we really appreciated.

We took 2 tours... one was the Panama City/Canal tour. It included lunch. It was a long way to the city which sort of took some of the fun out of the trip but it was very educational and the tour guide was great.

The second tour was to the rain forest. We were taken by bus to a boat (about a 2 hour ride) and then the boat took us into the Panama Canal, past huge container ships etc .. that was cool.. once in Gutan Lake (the lake they created to hold water for the canal), we were shown all sorts of birds, crocs, monkey, iguana's etc. Then we stopped for lunch and had the opportunity to use some kayaks or go fishing... and then back to the hotel. It also was good although a really long bus trip.

The hotel is really in the middle of nowhere so you can't go to the local pub, shop or anything unless you are willing to take a $60 taxi ride or a bus tour through the hotel. That part was very disappointing to us... and the store at the hotel was horribly expensive so we didn't buy one single thing. The tours also didn't give us much of a chance to buy anything so I didn't even get my regular tshirt! I thought I would just wait and get something at the airport but they didn't have anything either... there were quite a few stores at the airport and every single one was "duty free" in their "duty free zone"... they sold tv's, watches, perfumes, liquor, all that sort of thing, but not one single pack of gum, magazine or tshirt.

We would definitely recommend the trip to anyone who wants to go to a tropical destination. If I was to do it again I wouldn't go to Playa Blanca only because it is so secluded. We had been told the hotels along the carribean side are better for swimming and snorkeling so we would look for those locations.

All in all it was a great experience and sure have the suntan to prove it!

Room Tip: If you are given a balcony room be sure it is a regular sized balcony and not the "Juliet"...
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  • Stayed April 2012, travelled with family
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
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    • 2 of 5 bubbles
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    • 2 of 5 bubbles
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    • 3 of 5 bubbles
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    • 3 of 5 bubbles
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    • 3 of 5 bubbles
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Toronto
Level Contributor
61 reviews
30 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 145 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 1 April 2012

This has been one of a kind trip. I've kept my logs i wrote every night with everything about this hotel. Warning in advance: this is going to be one detailed and long review. I have visited this place from March 24 to March 31, so by looking at it my reviews will be the most up to date.

This did not started out good. I've bought last minute deal so.upon arrival at Playa Blanca i was left out without any room.
They arranged for me room 509 in building 4. It was a handicapped room, with assistance bars around the toilet.
First thing i did in the room: killed the cacroch. Oh well, this is tropics. That did not upset me. Second dissapointment, and it seems to.be the same for the other room i've get the next day: no spare electrical outlets in the room. There are few, hidden behidn the TV, that one usually occupied by TV, mini.fridge and light post. There are none others. The only one i found unused is in the bathroom. Thats where i had my telephone and camera charging all the time. Other downer was that it was on the ground level. So i didnt get a balcony. I didnt worry much, i was told next day i get the room i've booked.
If you have a chance, try to get other floors except for ground. The reason is the balcony which can also serve to dry off your towel or clothes. Ground floor gets two chairs outside. And don't be confused. The hotel does not consider ground floor as the first floor, its just ground floor. First floor would be second in Canada and second floor in Playa Blanca is the third floor in Canada.
So the next day, i get a new room only at 3 pm. Had to wait till checkout time and time to clean the room. It was room 227 in building 2. Immidiately encountered few problems: air con did not worked. Safe wasnt opening. Shower did not worked. Wow, lucky me:-) i called 150 on the phone to reception. Waited for five minutes, no one picked up the phone so i went to reception directly. I was upset. I told them, in particular, Carlos, the guy in charge everything. And watched as the ball started to roll...
Security came to my room and unlocked the safe. Maintenance ran somewhere, brought new showerhead. At the same time brought new filters for air conditioner. Carlos called the restaraunt and complimentary bottle of wine arrived within few minutes. As well as the cleaning stuff with my beach towels (didnt get them also).
Jumping ahead, upon meeting other tourists i've learned that cacrotches is not the only insects found in the rooms. People changed rooms because of antz and spiders. One room the ceiling collapsed.


Pools. There are two big ones. First one, surrounded by the buildings called quiet pool, or as i've heard - resting pool. Second one is between the buffet and main bar. Ut has a swim up bar, few volleyball nets, i would say its your main entertainment pool.
There are third one. But it doesnt belong to the resort. It's a property of Playa Blanca condominiums located rwo-three minutes away. It's free to use by resort visitors only on Sundays. Apparently its the second largest in the world salt water swimming pool. Been there. Fancy. Huge pool, has a bar beside it, beach chairs with cushions.

Buffet/restaraunts/snack bars/food
Main buffet, opens up at 7-10:00 for breakfast, 12:30 to 15:30 for lunch and 19:00-22:00 for dinner. Few snack bars open throughout a day and overlaping each other with time. Sports bar also serves Mexican food and acts as a karaoke bar at night. If you hungry after 10 pm your only choice is a snack area by main bar. It serves pizza, french fries, hot dog...well, all the "healthy" food that you should probably not touch before your bed. No fruits, no salads, not even pieces of cucumber or tomatoes. Sad.
Buffet food left mixed emotions. Not the greatest, but manageable. Dont get me wrong, there are a lot of choices but some of it you might recognize from lunch. So after selection you'll be satisfied with few choices. One more piece of advise: on Sunday locals having parties at the convention centre on hotel property and get a day pass to use the facilities. Wanna eat? Get up early. I've witnessed a line up standing outside of the buffet into the entertainment area just to get inside the buffet and sit down.

Drinks. Well, for Sunwing customers you get complimentary bottle of wine waiting for you in the room. Due to the mishap i had with rooms i didnt get it. I only get it after specificaly mentioned this to the manager.
I've ordered Pina Colada at the main bar - pure dissapointment. Beer was good. During the presentation on the next day we were informed that not all drinks included in our all inclusive. Some, as she said "premium" brands you have to pay for. When asked for the examples of "premium" drinks some names of liquor came up including Bailey's.

Market area, there are a store on premises with overpriced items. I've bought map of Panama as i wanted to rent the car. Cost me 8$. Bottle of water, 500 ml - 1$, at tthe bar-$3. There are hairdresser available near boutique store. Prices are reasonable.

Gym. Located right by the reception. One room, few traidmill machines, couple of bicycles for spinning, one huge machine in the middle for multiple excersises, few dumbels and weights. Overall, not bad. Open from 6 am to 10 pm. But because its by reception and someone there 24/7 they can open up gym for you at anytime.
First day the gym was fine, second - the spinning exercise bike, one of the pedals fell off as i was on it. Third day i've noticed all the towels in the gym was missing. Fourth towels still wasn't there. Wall clock was not working, but it seemed they had a problem with clocks all over the place: computers, reception, gym and etc.

Beach. Grey, dark volcanic sand. Very hot by midday. Strong currents near the shore at few places. Hey, this is Pacific!
Chances of being stung by stingray or zapped by jellyfish are high. Check out the flags at the beach, dont go too far if you see red. Sandy bottom, you dont need watershoes. Lifeguard on duty as well as by both of the pools. Due to nature of the sand, beach is awesome for running. Both: barefoot and in the running shoes. There is one problem with the sand: it gets incredible hot, you basiclly need the slippers until u reach the water. I used to walk almost towards the water in the slippers and leave them on the beach. I dont know why but the lifeguard used to keep removing them and placing them by the lifeguard booth. So i had to ran on the hot sand and get my slippers back.
One more thing about the beach is the fish heads that used to wash up on the shore everywhere. Probably local fishermen while cleaning the fish on boats used to drop the heads back into the ocean. Well, its aint a pretty picture when a fish heads, once there was a head of hummerhead shark, with all the guts lay on the beach. Not even mentioning the fact that it caused awfull smell and attracted vaulchers and dogs to the beach.
Then there were horses. Used to show up in packs of seven or eight. I dont know who they belong to but they sprinted around the beach, around the volleyball net area, the path between the beach and the pools, where children crossed often. Needless to say the area was covered in the horse droppings which no one seemed to bother to clean up.

Telephone and internet
If you wanna use the phone in your room, you have to leave deposit by reception to.unlock your line. Rates to Canada ranges are $1.50 per minute.If you have unlocked phone, buy SIM card from Sunwing representative for $22 which gives you $40 credit and use it as prepaid system. Rates in this case drop to 7 cents per minute for Canada calling and 2 cents local. Sketchy i would say.
Or, go to the city, and electronic store will sell you telephone for maximum of $20. Comes with one hour of talk time, sim card, charger and leather holder. It also comes with local number which expires from one year since your last call. Great if you want to return within a year.
Wi-fi in the resort not free and honestly not a good way of selling the passes. Prices are: 1 hr goes for 5$, full day for 8$ and 3 days for 15$. Keep in mind your hour will expire in one hour from ur last usage. Very inconvenient. You dont get to keep the time balance if you been on the internet less than an hour. Same with full day and three days deal. The other trick is that if you bought a day pass on Monday and wanna keep it till Tuesday to use it: it will not work. Seems like passes have expiry date at tge 24 hrs time from purchasing it even if you didn't use it. The sad part is that they will not tell you about this. Only when you come running to them and asking why is ur service not working.
But don't be panicking yet, there are two computers near reception and seems like they always connected to the internet for free. If they not when you get there, it's because someone from hotel read this and closed the "shop". My appologies.

Banking.
US dollars only. Occasionaly u might get coins with Balboa signs and the picture of a knight in the Don Kihot era helmet, its worth the same as US coin.
Surprise for The Exchange system users, HSBC bank machine located just outside of the reception area. You won't have to pay a cent for withdrawing the money. I have to say though, that i havent used the machine. I've seen it, but whether its working or not, no clue.

Property.
The resort is a two hours ride from Airport in Panama city. There are two ways. One will take you by the shore of the city towards the bridge of Americas, second through Centennial bridge. We took second one. You won't miss much if you close ur eyes and sleep.
The resort property is neat, however lacking some immidiate cleaning. Someone throwed up on one of the pathways, i noticed at 7:30 am on my way to breakfast. It was still there by 11.
There are two cages beside the market area, one with three big parrots, second one with lonely toucan. Dont put your fingers through the cage if you still need them.

Huge parking lot in front of the resort if u came by car or rented onne for few days. Rental agency: Hertz located in Decameron resort, but they will bring the vehicle over. Second one in.little town Santa Clara, ten minutes away. Guys from Thrifty's will bring the vehicle over.
Rates are differ, mine was 65$ per day for economy class ( Toyota Yaris) with automatic transmission and air con. Keep in mind if u wanna rent a car for.last days in the resort, drive yourself to Panama and leave the car at the airport, it can be done. But the flat fee for living a car at the airport is $100.
What can possibly go wrong with the car reservation? Well, here it is.

At 08:00 hrs as it was mentioned before i was waiting for the Thrifty rental car. In the lobby at the Playa Blanca resort i've met the other couple whom rented the car at the same place.
At 08:15 hrs, Roberto, arrived at the lobby and meet the other couple. They spoke Spanish. As soon as the reception clerk advised him i am waiting for him also, his face became serious. At that moment i knew something was going to happen.
Roberto has informed me that he has only one car and the couple i've met is getting it. He also mentioned that he never get my reservation. I was stunned, outraged, mad...call it how u wanted. Showed him the paper where Angelica, whom called on my behalf, wrote down all the details.
I tried to explain him that i had reserved the car on Sunday, it was useless. Instead came lame excuses about him personaly never get any reservation, he doesn't know anything. He said he didn't have a car and left.
I was lost. It was another mishap to add to the list of things went wrong at this resort at this trip.
Since i had a reservation already made in Veneto at Panama city i needed the car to get there. I was let down once by this company i wasn't going to wait for "probably will have a car.." Reception was useless in proving any assistance.
I asked the reception to call to Angelica. When she called back i've explained to her what has happened and told her to call Hertz at Decameron. I needed to get to the city. She called back and said that the car is on the way, she managed to find one at the Hertz, however, the price went up to 95$. I had no ther choice and i took it.

Tours from the resort.
Partial canal locks - boat ride through Mieloflores locks: 110$
Canal and the city - bus ride to the colonial town in Panama city, time to look at the canal and back - 85$.
Both tours leave at 7:45 and arrive back at 5 pm.
Anton Valley - mini zoo near town of Anton, hot springs and local market - 45$ (half day)
Friend of mine went to second one, she said it was very quick, not enough time for anything and you spend majority of time on the bus.

Staff
Absolute helpless people around with very very minimal English. Not coordinated at all. You ask one person something, ask the second one and will receive totaly different answers. Instead of helping you they rather sell you stuff that u dont need. I
And that goes not only for the resort. Airport, immigration, duty free clerks in airport. With all do.respect for their independance and nationality i think tourist information and airports should be staffed with English speaking personnel. I have never experienced such a disregard towards the tourists and English language in general.
I've also noticed that if English speaking person asks something first, the local will assist Spanish speaking people around first. Felt like outsider.

On the departure date, they loaded people on the bus and the luggage in the cube van. Obviously bus arrived at the airport first prompting people to wait for their luggage. Sunwing representative told people to check in without the bags and check the bags later. Well after the bags arrived in 30 minutes, those whom already check in and had boarding passes created another line and missunderstanding at the check in registers.
Out of eight people working behind the checkin booth only one was actualy checking people in. The rest stood with their backs towards the crowd, laughing and discussing something on Spanish.
Departure tax also went up to $42.50. It is collected at the check in booth. No change is available, so.make sure u have exact change.

To resume everything. I am a quiet person, dont like to complain and usually will close my eyes on things as long as they dont repeat. I've also travelled a lot, and i think after staying in 2 star Cuban resort its pretty hard to tick me off.
This place did it. And not only the place, but the city too. I will write about my Panama city trip under Panama city.
Sad to say but i ain't coming back and advising everyone to choose another place.

Room Tip: Tip to help you get a good room? Well, once u get your room i suggest check for the insects right aw...
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  • Stayed March 2012, travelled solo
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
11 Thank Guamokolatoking
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

Travellers are raving about these Farallon hotels

Panama City, Panama
Level Contributor
11 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 30 March 2012

I went with my wife to the Playa Blanca Resort a few months ago. We got there in the afternoon. We tried to have dinner and left. To get to the open dining room we passed thru the closed Suchi restaurant: the stench was awful. The food at the open restaurant was less than mediocre. The room was barren and shabby. We paid and we left some hour and a half after arrival.

Room Tip: Just don't go there.
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  • Stayed April 2011, travelled with family
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
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    • 3 of 5 bubbles
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    • 1 of 5 bubbles
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    • 1 of 5 bubbles
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    • 1 of 5 bubbles
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Helpful?
7 Thank rsachs24
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Hamilton, Canada
Level Contributor
22 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 67 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 27 March 2012

We just returned from a fantastic week at the Playa Blanca Resort in Panama, March 17 – 24.
We didn’t really know what to expect as we knew very few people that had every visited Panama and those that did had never stayed at this resort. We were very pleasantly surprised and think this may have been one of the best tropical vacations we have ever been on.

Flight

Our flight was with Sunwing and the flight was without incident. The staff are generally friendly and the service is good. The flight ended up arriving early. Total flight time was about 4 ½ hours. Arrival at the airport in Panama City was quick and easy and Sunwing reps directed us quickly to our waiting buses. Our luggage was loaded on a separate truck for us and taken to the resort. Everyone was given a beer or water and a piece of cake to eat. The bus ride from Panama City to the resort is long (just over 2 hours) but we stopped about an hour into the trip for a washroom break. Here we were able to buy snacks at the variety store or some food from McDonalds. The Sunwing Rep also acted as a tour guide giving us a history of Panama and pointing out different points of interest along the way. Total trip time from when we left our house in Canada to arriving at the hotel….13 hours (ouch).

Arrival at Hotel

We arrived late at night around 10PM at the hotel. When we got there we were directed to the buffet restaurant for a late night dinner that was kept open for our arrival. Our luggage was brought to the buffet for us. Check-in was handled at the buffet, where we were given our room assignments, keys and wristbands. It was the quickest and easiest check-in we have ever experienced. Makes you wonder why more resorts don’t do it this way. The check-in staff were great and the Sunwing Rep was there to help if needed.

Rooms

Our room was 510 and faced the quiet pool (exactly as we had requested when we booked our trip). The room was larger than we had expected with 2 huge king beds. Apparently all rooms have 2 or 3 beds. There was a complimentary bottle of water and bottle of wine. Our room had a nice walk-out balcony, flat screen TV and a large safe. Fresh beach towels are waiting in your room too. The bathrooms are small, but more than adequate (shower, toilet and sink). Some rooms had balconies with no sitting area, so make sure you request one with a sitting area. Use of the safe is free if you are with Sunwing. We had an issue with our A/C that was fixed with a call to the front desk. Maintenance staff were quick to help us. One problem is the maintenance staff speak 0% English so make sure you are very clear when you call the front desk as to what any issues are. Everyday our bed linens were changed, fresh towels were delivered and floors were mopped and cleaned. Note that none of the rooms have alarm clocks so if you require one bring it. Also, fridges are not restocked.
Water anywhere in Panama is safe to drink, even tap water.

Pools

There are two large pools on the property. The quiet pool is surrounded by buildings 1 through 5. These are the best buildings to be in if you want a decent night’s sleep. The quiet pool was used mainly by elderly tourists or those with small kids, but was almost entirely empty during our stay. There is much more shade around the quiet pool too if you are trying to avoid the sun. The main pool was much busier and nicer. This is where you will find the animation crew with activities and constant music playing. The towel exchange is here too. The main pool has a water volleyball net, basketball net and swim up bar. The water in the pool was very comfortable, nice enough to cool you down when you get hot and warm enough that you can jump right in. The pool has a shallow area roped off for small kids or for sunbathing in the pool. There are plenty of nice new pool loungers around the pool and we never had to save chairs as there were more than enough.
As mentioned by some other reviewers there is also a giant salt water pool that you are allowed to use on Sundays only. It is definitely worth the 2 minute walk to visit. It’s the 2nd largest pool in the world and there are plans to make it bigger. It’s so big that there are sail boats in it!

Beach

The beach here is a mixture if white sand and black volcanic sand. The beach is very wide but this is due mainly to the fact the shoreline changes vastly between low and high tides. There are lots of beach chairs available. There is a flag colour system to indicate whether you need to take precautions due to jellyfish. To be honest even when the flag was red we only saw 2 jellyfish so I don’t think there is anything to worry about.
We took a 15 minute walk down the beach to a small Canadian owned beach bar called Woody’s. It’s not much but it’s neat to see all the Canadian paraphernalia and have a Canadian beer. Leaving the resort during low tide allows you to cross a river by foot making the trip easier (otherwise you need to take a taxi). But be forewarned, once the tide comes in you can’t walk back. We came back and the tide had started to come in and the crossing was very dangerous. I highly recommend you don’t attempt it. We ended up getting thrown against the rocks by the waves.

Activities/Amenities

Activities are typical resort activities…water volleyball, Spanish lessons, dance lessons, giant Jenga, frizbee, beach sports etc. There are kayaks and canoes that can be borrowed from the beach for use. You can check your email or Facebook on the computers in the front lobby or via Wi-Fi from your room. The charge is $3 for half hour, $5 for an hour or $8 for the day. These are the lowest prices I have ever encountered at a resort. There is a games area behind the pool snack bar that has pool and ping pong tables as well as foozball tables.
There is also a kids club and playgrounds on the beach by the main pool. Since we didn’t have our kids with us I can’t comment too much on them except to say they seemed to be popular.
On the Friday night there was a beach BBQ with great food and it was romantic. Definitely recommended.
Every evening there is a show on the main stage and they were good most nights. Because a lot of the guests are Spanish speaking the show is very Spanish language centred. They do speak English too but on nights when the announcer is doing a comedy act we found the show hard to follow. However, we did enjoy the shows and there is lots of audience participation and we had a good laugh most nights. And if you are willing to learn a little Spanish, like we did, then you will enjoy it all the more. The effort you put in you get back two-fold!

Restaurants

There are 3 restaurants, a sports bar and a snack bar at this resort. The buffet is large and the food changes daily. Food is always hot and fresh. In the morning there is an omelette bar where you can order a custom made omelette. Note that this can sometimes get very busy. During lunch and dinner there is a great selection of meats, vegetables, salads, soup and fresh fruit. Lots of fresh fish too. Some of the great dishes were the fettucine alfredo, beef wellington, baked sole, fried plantain, baked cauliflower with cheese to name just a few. Try some of the Panamanian dishes for something new…very tasty.
The two a-la-carte restaurants are the Asian and the Sushi. Reservations are made before 10AM at the front desk. We ate at the Asian restaurant and really enjoyed it. The wonton soup and egg rolls are very good. Our table ordered Pad Thai and Beef with Broccoli, both very good. Because the other people in my group didn’t want to try the sushi restaurant I can’t give a review on it, but I heard it was good.
The snack bar is right next to the main pool and serves pizza, grilled cheese, hot dogs, chicken nuggets and fries (called papas in Spanish). The food was always hot. I didn’t like the nuggets, but apparently the kids at the resort loved them lol.
The sports bar is a hidden gem on the resort and is empty most of the day. They serve typical pub finger foods such as nachos and buffalo chicken wings…both very good. It only seems to get busy in there after the evening show is done on the main stage, when they have karaoke. Most nights it was filled with people singing Spanish language songs, but it was still a good laugh. Excellent margaritas and mojitos served here!

Bars

There are 6 bars on the resort. There is the swim up bar in the main pool, a small bar at the quiet pool, small bar in the front resort lobby, a bar next to the main pool where the snack bar is, the sports bar and the disco. All the bars serve soft drinks, coffee, wine, beer, mixed drinks and blender drinks (pina colada, daiquiri etc). I wasn’t a fan of the wines, but the beer they serve is good (Balboa) and the mixed drinks were fantastic. Expect your drink to have lots of alcohol in it unless you tell the bartender otherwise. Ask to see their drink list if you aren’t sure what to have. Some of the good drinks they made for us were Blue margaritas, Tropical Sex, Coco-loco and Corada Splash. And if you want I cold bottle of Corona or some Malibu its only $2. All the bartenders were happy to serve and fun to talk to. None of them ever expected a tip or treated those who did tip with better service.
The disco opens after the show at 11PM and runs until 3 AM every night. The night we went the disco was empty but we heard it was very busy other nights. It is located on the beach.

General Resort Comments

The resort is smaller than the neighbouring Decameron, with approximately 250 rooms but we didn’t find that to be a bad thing at all. The grounds are beautiful and very well maintained. Everything is very clean and well-kept and we never saw floating drink cups in the pool or garbage laying around like some other resorts.
Staff are extremely friendly and are never expecting tips. You will find that their English may not be as good as other places you have visited in the Caribbean, but they try very hard and if you use a few Spanish phrases they truly appreciate it.
We encountered absolutely no insects at all. That doesn’t mean they don’t exist because I am sure the geckos and bats are eating something. But we were able to sit out on our balcony at night or at the shows and never had any bother with insects. Leaving our balcony door open never caused unwanted intruders either.
The resort has a store, beauty salon and medical clinic. Medical treatment is free in Panama for tourists. There are also a few tables set up to sell a small selection of souvenirs.
There is also a change room/washroom near the main pool behind the games area that very few people knew about. It’s very clean and has showers too. We used it on our final day to change out of our bathing suits and into our clothes to travel home.

Tours/Excursions

We booked all our tours through either the Sunwing Rep or Adventure Tours located on the resort property. We found that the tours were very reasonably priced compared to other vacations we had been on. We had read that there was someone offering tours on the beach but we walked along the beach and never found anyone.
Because Panama City is so far away we didn’t book any excursions that went to the city as we didn’t want to spend 4 – 5 hours on a bus. We had wanted to try the zip-line trip too, but it was on the other side of Panama City and after watching videos on YouTube it just didn’t seem as exciting as we thought it would be. A few people from our resort went to the Panama Canal tour and told us they loved it. Also, we heard later that if you want to go shopping at the MetroMall in Panama City there are buses that will take you there and back for $8 from the Royalton. Some other people we talked to took the Eco-tour and said it was the best tour they had ever taken. Anyway, below are 3 of the tours we took:

Anton Valley $49 – This town is located inside a volcano. The tour includes a trip to a zoo (very good), a walk to see water falls in the rain forest, swimming in volcanic heated hot springs and shopping in the village. The hot springs was a bit of a disappointment as it’s kind of like a hot tub filled with hot spring water but the rest of the excursion was well worth it and highly recommended. If you are planning on souvenir shopping this is the trip to do it on. Lots of genuine Panama made souvenirs in the village at very cheap prices and the vendors will bargain. We also noticed that they had zip-lining here for about a 3rd of the price of the zip-line excursion (not part of this tour). All-in-all I give this tour 2-thumbs up!

ATV Excursion $70 1-hour, $100 2-hour – We did the 2 hour tour and it was well worth it. The tour leaves from the resort and travels through farmland, rainforest and small villages along the way. It’s a great way to see Panama close up. Our tour was to end in a large village before turning back but one of our ATV’s broke down part way there in the middle of the countryside. It was kind of a blessing because we broke down in front of a small shack selling drinks. We ordered 3 beers and a bottle of coke for a total cost of $2.75 and got to meet some locals. Had a great time! And because our trip didn’t go as planned the tour company gave us a discount on jet-skis the next day  .

Penonome $35 – This tour was a trip into the town of Penonome to see a real Panama town, visit the market, souvenir shopping, visit the cigar factory and shopping at the Supermarket. Overall we thought this trip wasn’t worth the money. The sightseeing was about the only good part. You are left for an hour to do shopping in the town but there are no souvenirs. The stores sell things that the locals would want to buy. The cigar factory was a disappointment as you didn’t get to see any cigars made, you just got to purchase them. And the trip to the supermarket was to get alcohol but the selection was very limited.

Overall

Panama has loads of very interesting history. On your bus ride to the resort when you arrive listen to the Sunwing Rep and they will tell you so much about the history of Panama and the canal (truly fascinating).
Panama is very close to the equator and during the Panama summer (Dec – Apr) the weather is absolutely fantastic. Always hot and sunny. There is no humidity so the hot sun is very bearable, and there seemed to always be a very light breeze off the Pacific. Sitting out at night is very comfortable. The rest of the year is the rainy season...apparently 8 months of 24 hour rain.
Panama uses US$ and we found prices very reasonable wherever we went. And we never encountered any vendors on the beach or were ever approached by anyone asking for money
The people of Panama are extremely friendly and poverty doesn’t seem to be a problem. Most live a very simple life but they seem to have everything they need. And we could venture off into villages and never felt unsafe. We heard that Panama has the lowest crime rates in Latin America.
Our trip to Panama was the most enjoyable and interesting tropical vacation we have been on to date. There is so much to do and the people are great. You will meet lots of people from Colombia, Brazil, Costa Rica and Equador as Panama is a favourite destination for tourists from those countries. The food and water are fantastic and this is the first time no one in our group has gotten sick from eating or drinking something. Panama comes highly recommended from us and the Playa Blanca Resort is a fantastic resort! We will be back!

Room Tip: Rooms surrounding the quiet pool are your best choice if you want a good nights sleep. These are bui...
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  • Stayed March 2012, travelled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
13 Thank SookieStackhouse
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Toronto, Canada
Level Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 21 March 2012

We had a fantastic time at Playa Blanca over March Break. The staff was great and the food surpassed expectations -- excellent seafood, quality meat, fresh local fruit all the time, loads of choice. (Even as a vegetarian, I ate very well.) Everything was clean, well taken-care of. It was a good mix of guests -- families, retired folks, young couples, etc. There was lots to do, but it also felt very leisurely. We lounged a lot in the pool and enjoyed the best pina coladas of our lives.

We rented mountain bikes one day and explored the area on our own. We were impressed with how safe it was. We also did some of the excursion that can be booked at the front desk. Although it's too bad that the resort is so far from Panama City (excursions usually involve hours on the bus), they were worth it. Our guide for the Panama City and Canal tour was very knowledgeable and spoke very impressive English and French. The Eco Tour was amazing -- I'll always remember feeding the monkeys!

The only down side (and it's not Playa Blanca's fault) is that did the trip through Sunwing and they were NOT organized at all. They distributed the wrong forms, had wrong information, weren't available at the hours they'd posted, etc. When we first arrived (after 24 hours of travel, in our case), we were told our rooms were not ready. Our Sunwing person told us to go to the restaurant, with no directions or explanation. We later found out that this was because Sunwing thought our plane was arriving hours later than it was. The Sunwing Representative actually insisted that we had somehow all arrived early, as if it had been our fault, or the pilot's fault, or something. Then she was completely wrong about when our flight back to Montreal was going back. In the end, we had to check out of our rooms at noon although the bus wasn't leaving for the airport until 7:30 p.m. Fortunately, Playa Blanca kept feeding us and making us feel welcome, but Sunwing should really not have advertised this as an 8 hour trip when we had access to our rooms for less that 7 days. In 2014, there will be a new international airport completed about 15 minutes from the resort. So I'd definitely prefer then to arrange my own transportation. This will also make it easier on young families, older folks, etc. once we don't have a 2 hour bus ride at the end of the trip.

We don't have kids, but it seemed like there was lots for them to do. The activities and entertainment staff ran lots of sports, dance lessons, dance shows, etc. with a lot of energy. The beach was clean and pretty, though not the best for swimming. It gets deep pretty quickly, and there are warnings about jellyfish and stingrays. Fortunately, there are several good pools at the resort.

I heard a couple people complain that the disco was too loud from their rooms. We didn't hear a think from our building and slept very well every night.

And Panama is a great destination! I would recommend Playa Blanca and its fascinating country to almost anyone!

  • Stayed March 2012, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
5 Thank RogueEater
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Rio de Janeiro
Level Contributor
195 reviews
65 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 133 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 19 March 2012

The hotel is beautiful. Quite away from Panama City. The pools are very good and the high point are the drinks served in bars and restaurants. The food is average, but this is normal in all inclusive hotels.
The beach is poor when you consider that there are options very close in the Caribbean.

  • Stayed March 2012, travelled on business
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Cláudio F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Ottawa
Level Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 16 March 2012

I am always surprised by the diversity of the the ratings on this site. I supposed people are all different with different expectations. My famiy and I went to Palya Blanca Feb 11-18 2012. It was beautiful. The grounds are lovely with fowers and tress everywhere. We ordered a famiy suite and stayed at the Towne Center which was new and in perfect condition. The pools were all clean and warm. The food was good, especiay if you enjoy seafood. Lots of lounge chairs, and space.

We liked the natural aspect of this trip. In the evenings you can see bats, and during the day many different kinds of birds. We went ont he Anton Vally excursion and I would highy recommed it.

  • Stayed February 2012, travelled with family
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Patti06
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Hotel Playa Blanca Beach Resort

Property: Hotel Playa Blanca Beach Resort
Address: 115 Km Via Interamericana, Farallon, Rio Hato 8437, Panama
Phone Number:
Region: Panama > Cocle Province > Rio Hato > Farallon
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Centre with Internet Access Casino and Gambling Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Spa Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 3 Hotels in Farallon
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:3 star — Hotel Playa Blanca Beach Resort 3*
Number of rooms: 219
Reservation Options:
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Also Known As:
Playa Blanca Hotel Farallon
Playa Blanca Hotel And Resort
Hotel Playa Blanca Panama
Playa Blanca Resort Panama
Playa Blanca Panama City
Blanca Panama Playa
Hotel Playa Blanca Beach Resort Panama

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